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30 March 2009

Post on Soaps

No, not Palmolive or Jergins or Tide! (None of which i use, by the way.)

Rosemary made a comment on a soap, & i was curious. She satisfied my curiosity, but it made me think. I never watched "The Bold & the Beautiful."

My mother, when i was growing up, hated soaps. I learned later that was because she began to identify with the characters & when they had a bad day, she was depressed. Rather than say, "This doesn't work for me," my mother went to a global "soaps are evil."

As a digression, she really, really thought the old soap "Dark Shadows" written directly by Satan himself. As i said before, i have watched similar contemporary things, "Charmed," "Supernatural," etc. I don't see them as something that will corrupt me - my mother's fears of such things - but i do see them as reflecting the current world view of so many. In that there is the desire to be something apart from God. The idea the people can fight evil, especially demons, etc., apart from God is just absurd (implausible, ludicrous, ridiculous, nonsensical, unbelievable, laughable, beyond all reason - you get the picture).

Back to the topic.

At age 18 i had never watched any soaps. In high school, however, some of the other kids did watch them, & they would go to a nearby home during study hall to watch the shows. I was amused to hear them talk about the characters because it sounded like they were talking about real people! (We didn't watch much TV in my home growing up.)

When i was 18 i was a nanny for a family when the boy was 3 months old. His mama came home from work every day to watch "All My Children." So i got caught up in the story line. Eventually this spread to two others that followed, & the one previous as well. So i was inundated by these things for a while. I worked for that family for 2 years. I continued to watch the soaps for a couple of years after that. I think what stopped me was when they killed off one of my favorite characters. (She & her fiance overcame all obstacles & had just been married. All indications were that they would be happily married & thus, from soap point of view, no story left. So they had her killed.)

I did not have the same experience as my mother (depression over the story line), tho sometimes i was angry at where the story line took them. The soaps were actually good for me.

You see, from a child i somehow had a "do over" mentality. My childhood was not very happy, & somehow in my mind i had the idea that someday w
e would go back & "fix it." I don't really know where i came up with the idea, maybe a fantasy that it would all be fixed & come out lovely & rosy. I believed that i would relive my childhood, & my mother would be warm & loving; i would have good friends at school, & i wouldn't hurt inside.

Soap operas helped me step more firmly into reality. They helped me eliminate the "do over" ideas i'd had. Some of the plots & story lines were unrealistic. (To say the least!!! General Hospital had some device that a mob family was using to try to control the world by controlling the weather - it was snowing all summer long during that story!) But most of the stories were people plugging along every day. Oh, their lives were more dramatic than most folks i know, but they kept going forward in time. They had consequenses for behaviors & they never got to go back & "do over" (tho i know some would create a "dream sequence" where what had happened didn't actually). I think after watching these folks on & on for 3-4 years, i finally realized that life doesn't have "do overs." And when they killed my favorite character, i waited for the "oops, that was a mistake. She's not really dead."
When it didn't happen i got mad & stopped watching, but i had a more realistic view of life.

I bet few people feel a soap opera helped them to see life more
as more real!

Goodness! I can blather on. It would be fun to hear if others watch/watched soaps & what their response was.

Oh, one final comment. Years ago, while i was in college, i had a roommate who was really attached to her soap opera. I think it was Days of Our Lives. She wouldn't let anything interfere with her watching it (she did record it to watch later). At one point when we were talking about it, she said, "I've had friends that come & go in my life. No one to count on. But 'Days of Our Lives' is always there." I thought that an apt, but extremely sad commentary.

I've a coffee cake coming out of the oven in a few minutes. I'll probably blog about that too. Hope y'all are having a nice day. (Come by for some tea & coffee cake.)


1 comment:

Rosemary said...

Good post, Kathryn. I got into soaps via a place I worked, the ladies would watch them religiously in the lunchroom and so I watched too. I referred to the Young and the Restless as the Hot and the Horny. Yeah, classy, that would be me!

Hmmmm...I don't have a negative or positive view of them. I do think they are unrealistic, but for some they are good escapism. (Like up to Big Bear to have adventures in snowstorms - I think on The Soup they showed a clip where the crazy lady lured the pretty heiress up to Big Bear and poured honey on her so a bear would come in and eat here - OMG - too funny and oh so realistic right?)

Your mom sounds like she was extremely sensitive to things and hence the identification with the characters. The 1960's and 1970's soaps were, I think, less out there and more akin to what some women were experiencing at that tumultuous time in our history and maybe that made her question her life.

I think your college roomie's experience is sad. I never got into them THAT much.

I won't apologize, but I chuckle at how easily I just type on and on commenting. Just tell me to chill sometimes...